Mayor Reacts to State Reopening Phase I

May 18, 2020

Credit Flickr

Executive Order number 20-123 from Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked in on Monday, putting Florida in full phase one of the state’s reopening plan in the time of coronavirus. Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson addressed the change during his Monday news conference.

“The executive order allows gyms and fitness centers to open at 50% capacity; and allows restaurants, retail, museums and libraries to increase to 50%,” said the mayor.

The mayor also was to have requested that DeSantis reopen gyms, but the executive order rendered that moot.

The order also covers the operation of vacation rentals. The Escambia County Commission has submitted such a request to the state for consideration. The city of Pensacola seeks to comply with the same paperwork. Robinson also spoke about a letter he sent to the governor regarding businesses who have reached out to the mayor with concerns about their reopening plans.

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson.
Credit City of Pensacola

“I’ve asked for clarification regarding massage and spa services,” said Robinson. “Along with advocating the reopening of bars and breweries — like restaurants — where they are able to open, but only in seated capacity. And also it’s either outside or 50% inside capacity.”

Also in the works is a plan to reopen community centers on June 15.

“We’re working on summer programming camps and other things, and how we’ll be able to do that consistently with COVID,” the mayor said. “[Parks and Rec Director] Brian Cooper and his team; I have the utmost confidence in them. I know they’re working through to make that June 15 deadline; so that’s what we’re shooting for.”

The sounds of “Play Ball” could also be on the way back. Robinson announced that the Bill Bond Baseball Program is set to resume with May 30 the tentative starting date.

Pensacola's Bill Bond youth baseball program is set to begin at the end of May.
Credit Bill Bond League

“I don’t know if they’re going to have their draft day or their other skills day on May 30, but we thought we’d give them that Saturday,” said Robinson. “I think it’s just one of those things we all have to work through, but we’re very excited about getting our youngsters back out playing baseball. So that will be starting the last weekend of May.”

Another reopening project involves Pensacola’s public swimming pools. The city’s recreation department has been working with the YMCA on how to reopen them safely on Monday, May 25 — Memorial Day.

“We’ll be following CDC guidance with reopening, with enhanced cleaning protocols and increased cleaning frequencies,” said the mayor. “Staff training and social distancing in place, we plan to reopen at a maximum 50 people to start, in order to ensure that social distancing is practiced. Typical capacity is 150.”

Deck furniture will be rearranged to provide six feet between chairs; markers and signs to remind visitors to say apart and wash their hands will be on display.

Meanwhile, Memorial Day ceremonies in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties have been canceled due to the pandemic.